Notable facts about the collection

  • Contains over 600 series of medical journals, including special and unique issues

  • Over 16’000 elegantly custom-bound volumes

  • A thousand single ancient books

  • Subjects predominantly covering Ophthalmology and
    Genetics with related specialties such as Pediatrics,
    Dermatology, Internal Medicine and Neurology


  • Original publications in the main languages : English,
    German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese,
    Russian, Rumanian, Polish etc..

  • Spanning from the beginning of the 19th century to the present,
    with the majority of the series starting from their very first issue,
    which is a definitely unique feature for a medical library.


  • The vast majority of the series elegantly bound by a dynasty of
    artisan bookbinders with the unique Franceschetti Library
    inlay & crest.


  • The Library also contains some 1000 boxes of reprints –
    reprints in the pre-internet era were the method of securing
    articles from academic journals one did not receive.


  • Including:
    Over 400 boxes of articles written or collected by the great
    Swiss Dermatologist Joseph Jadasson, (1863-1936).


  • The collection of all Professor Franceschetti’s articles and of
    his collaborators’ from 1928 to 1968.


  • The medical articles collected by Professor Franceschetti
    throughout his career.


The Library takes its name from its founder, the late Professor Adolphe Franceschetti, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University Hospital of Geneva (1933-1963) and a world celebrity of his field and times. He authored over 500 scientific articles, many of them relating to human genetics and inheritable diseases of the eye and is also credited with introducing improved surgical techniques for keratoplasty (corneal transplantation). His name is associated with several medical syndromes he helped identify and treat, most notably the Franceschetti–Klein syndrome and the Naegeli–Franceschetti–Jadassohn syndrome.


Adolphe Franceschetti (1896-1968) became Professor of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Geneva in 1933. During the three decades of his tenure he set about to develop and expand the department, and Since public funds were lacking for procuring medical journals he considered necessary for research he started acquiring them himself. Under his leadership the department and the Hospital acquired a world-known reputation which it continues to this day. In addition to being a luminary in Ophthalmology, Professor Franceschetti was also one of the first great geneticists. In 1952 in Geneva he founded the first journal of this specialty published in French -  Le Journal de Génétique Humaine (the Journal of Human Genetics).


In 1955 the widow of his friend Professor Karl Wessely asked his help to sell the library that had belonged to her husband. Professor Franceschetti decided to buy it himself and this collection forms the beginning of his own library. Over the years, he had added to it to create a library of over 300 medical journal series totaling over 15’000 volumes. He made a point of having all journals bound in volumes so as not to lose a single issue;many of which are hand bound by a local artisan into volumes with the Franceschetti family crest in the inside inlay.

When the Professor retired in 1966 the library moved from the University Hospital of Geneva to his family home in a wing especially built for that purpose. A family foundation was set up to manage the library, the first time this sort of foundation was established in Switzerland. Lamentably the Professor passed shortly after in 1968 of an unexpected ruptured aneurysm.

Since his passing the Foundation has been lead by his son Dr. Albert Franceschetti (also an accomplished ophthalmologist) with the support of his daughter Marguerite Franceschetti Tissot. They kept expanding the library seeking to complete any series of medical journals, binding them into volumes, and collecting antique and unique books for the collection.

In 1997 the family and the library moved to the Château de Vétraz, a castle where belonging to the Franceschetti family close to Geneva. The library is currently housed elegant mahogany and ceruse wood bookcases, and in an environment-controlled settings. In 2000 it was decided to limit the number of active subscriptions to only the most prestigious medical journals.

In 2017 an entire review of the catalogue and collection was done to produce a updated catalogue, sales brochure, online platform for the intention to sell this unique library to an individual, foundation, or academic institution;for more information please click here.

© Bibliotheque Franceschetti, 2018 - all rights reserved